Rafina is NOT Refined

While posting some quick reviews on Yelp, I noticed that a Greek restaurant, Rafina, was doing well and had some amazing reviews.
All I could think was, "WTF?" For a place that is empty at least 5 nights a week, HOW can people rave about them? So in all fairness, I wrote about my skepticism and my own experiences.

Here is what I wrote:
The restaurant owner MUST be paying for reviews on this place. It is BEYOND bad. The fish is NOT fresh (believe me, I know this as a FACT) and it is over-priced for portions and quality.
They have a COOK, **not** a chef. This makes a BIG difference. Nothing on the menu is inventive or even worth eating. More importantly, the prices are just WAY over the limit for less than mediocre cuisine.
While I DO like the location because nothing else is in the area, it's not worth my time or money. It's a shame, because the right business model would really get this place going and making money.
Right now, they don't even have a lunch service or a decent menu for the evening.
The reviews here [on Yelp] are VERY sketchy.
I've been here. It's my neighborhood. I WANT Rafina to succeed. But they barely have customers in this place. It's a matter of time until they shut the doors if the owner doesn't get with the program and change the cook to a chef and offer decent, REASONABLY priced meal options -for both lunch and dinner. Brunch would be nice, too... but again, I have no expectations.
Maybe the next owner of the space will have a solid business plan. 


Interestingly enough, the owner contacted me via email and was very irate. After his rant and negative tone expressed towards me and my truthful critique, he demanded that I remove my review from Yelp!

Uh, dude. Really?

I'm not about to go back on my word. I know the fish is frozen. I've seen it AND I've tasted it. Rafina has a mediocre cook and charge chef prices. The Loukanika Laconia sausages are too salty and lack flavor, the Saganaki cheese dish is another salt-lick and the feta is out of the fridge, just slammed on a plate. Oh yes, and there's the Keftedakia...meatballs that taste like sawdust, swimming in oil. Sorry, folks, that's just a couple of items off the appetizer list! The main courses are just as atrocious.

I think this place MUST have some sort of gambling ring going on, because I can't see how they can keep their doors open. The place is empty until Friday or Saturday nights... then you might see some bodies due to the live music that they offer, but other than that, you can watch the tumbleweeds roll through there night after night.

Again, it's a shame. I'd LOVE for this place to offer good food at good prices. Really. The waitstaff is fine - no complaints. But then again, when there's NO ONE ELSE IN THE RESTAURANT when you're there, it's easy to get good service.

I let the owner know that I would be happy to write a new review if he gets a decent chef and a good menu. However, I won't be spending any of my time or money at the less than refined Rafina any time soon. And the current review on Yelp: STAYS.

6 comments:

  1. I'm with you... I won't take a review down. If he offered for you to come back and try it again and to write an update then fine but I would not take down a review based upon any owner's demand

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  2. Appreciate the support, Nicole! :)

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  3. Hi, full disclosure -- I work with blue dog and handle all the feedback we get, online & offline

    Firstly, complaints are inevitable. Having no complaints is actually a bad thing. What restaurant is perfect? None. In our view, we need to hear of complaints both offline & online as a "barometer" to know how customers perceive us in all aspects of the business --- food, service, ambience, etc. So we actually listen, and we're small enough to quickly implement change.

    So when an owner of a restaurant reads comments about his/her shop -- they take it personally. Of course they do, it's their "baby", their pride & joy, and whether it's good or bad...they worked hard to get it there. (Which is why having owners responding to complaints is a BAD idea.)

    Advice to Rafina
    - if you disagree with the reviewer, prove them wrong? If your fish is as fresh as it's claimed to be, give them a tour of your kitchen. If you think it was a mishap, treat them to their next meal and see if it's any different?

    Anyways -- no. I would not change or remove your review unless you go back and get a worthwhile experience deserving of extra stars. And I do think, had the owner responded more politely and invited you back -- that you should take him/her up on that offer and give them a second chance.

    Ciao

    Andy

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  4. Thank you, Andy!! You're spot on with your comments.
    I appreciate this... and I really understand, too, how an owner takes pride in their "baby".
    I really wish the owner would take a look at his business model, because the place is very empty, most of the time. I also let him know that when he DOES change up the kitchen, I'd be happy to go back. (As would MANY people!)
    There's not a lot in Rafina's neighborhood to compete with, so again, I want the place to succeed as do a number of locals. The owner has not been open to suggestions and he insists on things being a certain way.
    And just as an extra FYI: I know the kitchen has the frozen fish, because I have first hand knowledge. Which is why it was exceptionally surprising when the owner, in his negative message to me, essentially lied and said it was fresh because apparently, he buys it himself. That saddened me even more. Why the dishonesty?
    I wish he would politely re-vamp the restaurant. The interior is very nice, the space is large and welcoming. The food and pricing keep people from returning and being regular customers.
    I hope Rafina will follow your sound advice.
    Thanks again,
    NYCFG

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  5. I have eaten here and it's just like you stated. BTW the owner is an asshole.

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  6. Thanks, Rux. It's sad, all the way around... He tried to turn me into Yelp for violating the ToS and I'm sure he's urging his customers to go to Yelp to continue to write 5-star reviews.
    Why is that necessary? If he HAD good food at reasonable prices, no one would be writing ANY of this.... (sigh)

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